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Embracing the spirit of December

Sharing joy, love and hope

Article by Dr. Aliya Sheriff, Licensed Psychologist/Co-Founder IvyHealth Network

Photography by Dr. Aliya Sheriff and Adobe Photostock

Originally published in Southlake City Lifestyle

As December approaches, it's not just the twinkling lights, cozy fires, and festive decorations that fill the air—it's the spirit of cheer and goodwill that warms our hearts. This month offers a unique opportunity to focus on family, giving back to others and reflecting on the year that was while looking forward to the one that's about to begin.

While selecting the perfect presents for your loved ones is delightful, remember that gifts come in various forms. The gifts of your time, attention and love can be the most cherished of all. They demonstrate care, thoughtfulness and a deep understanding of the recipient's needs and desires. Offer to run errands for another person, a day to pass down traditions and recipes, creating a scrapbook of memories, or making a digital playlist for someone. These small acts can brighten someone's day and remind us that the most valuable gifts are often intangible.

December is the season of giving, including giving back to our communities. Many charitable organizations work tirelessly to make the world a better place. Volunteering your time or donating to a cause you're passionate about is a beautiful way to share the love. Your efforts can make a meaningful difference in someone's life.

December can also be a time of stress and overwhelming expectations. During the holiday frenzy, prioritize family time and make the most of the season. Managing expectations is also beneficial. Concentrate on the traditions and activities that truly matter to you and your family. Plan special activities, like decorating the tree together, baking cookies or watching classic holiday movies.  Fewer but more meaningful events can make your December more enjoyable. Your loved ones will remember the laughter and love.

The end of the year is also a great time for reflection. Take a moment to celebrate your achievements, big and small. Consider the lessons learned and the growth you've experienced. One of the most powerful ways to finish the year is to express gratitude. Each night, your family can share what they're grateful for that day. Leave notes of appreciation for one another. Or a Gratitude Jar can be placed in a common area of the house. Whenever someone in the family feels grateful for something or someone, they can write it on a slip of paper and place it in the jar. At the end of the month or year, read the notes together.

This December, let the spirit of love, joy and hope fill your heart. Embrace the opportunity to give, share and prepare for a new year filled with possibilities. As we come together to make the world a better place, we can truly make December a month of warmth, generosity and inspiration.

  • Dr. Aliya Sheriff